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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  March 2, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EST

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>> pelley: tonight, round two of deadly tornadoes. storms tear across the middle of america. reports from the disaster area with elaine quijano, mark strassmann, plus meteorologist david bernard. also tonight, president obama says he's not bluffing about war to stop iran's nuclear ambitions. norah o'donnell is at the white house. the grieving continues in chardon, ohio but michelle miller reports the healing has begun. ♪ we are chardon high... >> pelley: and "on the road" with steve hartman. in a city riddled with crime, she's taking the law into her own hands. >> somebody has to do it. captioning sponsored by cbs
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this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. for the second time in three days, tornadoes are hitting america's mid-section, brought by a line of powerful storms that stretch from the gulf coast all the way up to the great lakes. this is pekin, indiana, ten miles northwest of louisville, kentucky. the police tell us this tornado caused extensive damage there. this is henryville, indiana, population 1,900. homes and businesses have been platenned. the same thing happened in nearby mariesville. a police officer there says the village is "completely gone. at least three people have been killed in southern indiana. the storms are massive, as we saw in downtown nashville. this is 11 minutes of video that we compressed to show you how the storm hit music city. the emotions of this evening were caught in this picture of
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one survivor in alabama after he found the one possession that he may have wanted to save the most. there were also reports of tornadoes across northern alabama. one ripped part of the roof off a maximum security prison. mark strassmann is in the town of new market tonight. mark? >> reporter: by mid-morning, scott, this house had been flattened. the good news is no one was home. and you see storm ruin just like this all over this neighborhood. now consider something else: this has been a long, frightening day of violent weather and it's not over. suddenly around 4:00 p.m. a black cloud wall menaced madison county. for people like jack kilgore and leslie poesy, this was their second scare in seven hours. what do you think about that behind you? >> not looking good. >> reporter: they headed for this bunker, inside this ten-foot by ten-foot room we joined 30 other people waiting
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anxiously. this time the storm passed us by. madison county's first tornado worn warning hit at 9:18, minutes before the funnel cloud brought violent winds that battered northeast alabama. forecasters suspect a supercell spawned several tornadoes here. in less than an hour, the swath of damage left behind ran 20 miles long and three miles wide. white steel raced home and called his wife, hiding in their bathroom. >> she was in the bathtub and the bathroom when it came through. i kept her tone phone all the way when to talk her down but she was upset. >> reporter: inside this high school, a student used his cell phone to show classmates cowering in the hallway. the roof on the school's science wing blew off. 1, 400 students and staff were inside, but no one was hurt. >> we had quite a bit of property and structural damage but 1,300 children and somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 employees left here completely unscathed. >> reporter: but this day of devastation, scott, could go on. forecasters with the national
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weather service tell us this area will stay at high risk of more violent weather through midnight. >> pelley: mark, thank you very much. the danger is far from over. the national weather service says conditions are ripe tonight for more tornadoes in nine states. in some cases the probability is as high as 30%. the question is, why so many tornadoes so early. david bernard is our severe weather consultant and the chief meteorologist at cbs 4 in miami. david, what's going on here? >> well, we have a couple things in place, scott, we have a tremendous amount of warm air, a lot further north for so early in the season than we normally see and then we have a powerful jet stream coming out of the rockies and it's splitting. one part of the swraoepl going to the north, another going to the south and in between that split you get an incredible amount of air rising in the atmosphere and that can lead to some very large storms just like we're seeing right now.
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>> pelley: david bernard, thank you very much. as we mentioned, one of the hardest hit towns is henryville, indiana, and elaine quijano is there, elaine? >> reporter: we're along state road 160 in the heart of henryville, indiana. we arrived a short time ago and what we have seen is absolute devastation. look behind me here. that's what's left of henryville high school. what we don't know at this hour is whether or not there was anyone inside at the time that these storms rolled through. but i can tell you just from looking around there are piles of debris everywhere where houses once stood. there are cars overturned, power lines down. police and fire and emergency personnel are working very much to get the situation here under control and just a short time ago we had a chance to talk to two survivors, one of whom saw very closely firsthand just how powerful a storm this was.
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>> my wife and i were up at the baptist church and we still had our young daughter who was remaining on the bus and couldn't find her. i seen this thing in the distance, there was two of them and by the time we got to the basement of the church all hell broke loose. >> the wheels came off, the seats were broken. >> reporter: and you were supposed to be on the bus? >> she was on it. >> reporter: you were on the bus when it happened? >> yeah. and i had to walk in the school and the whole school fell down. >> reporter: and, scott, just a couple of minutes ago i talked to sergeant jerry goodin with the indiana state police. he's holding a news conference about a block away at the catholic church. he couldn't tell me whether or not there were any fatalities or injuries. obviously they are still, at this hour, scott, very much working to assess the damage here. >> pelley: and a long night ahead. elaine, thank you very much. in washington today, president obama used his sharpest language yet as he repeated that he would use military force to stop iran
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from building an atomic bomb. but only as a last resort. the president spoke ahead of an important meeting at the white house on monday with the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu net. norah o'donnell is at the white house tonight. norah? >> reporter: scott, president obama is trying to convince the israeli leader that a preemptive strike is not the best option. he's also trying to convince the american public as well telling a woman at a fund raidser last night that she was jumping the gun by thinking that war was imminent. >> nobody's announced a war, young lady. (laughter) but we appreciate your sentiment. >> reporter: in fact, mr. obama is trying to avoid a war, telling the "atlantic" magazine he will try to persuade netanyahu to postpone an attack on iran's nuclear facilities. esident wants to assure
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israelis that a military opt the president wants to assure israelis that a military option is on the table if sanctions fail. >> reporter: for his part, the israeli prime minister said today he will do what he deems necessary. >> we reserve the right to defend ourselves against a country that calls and works for our destruction. >> reporter: veteran diplomat dennis ross is the former middle east envoy. what do you think the president meant when he said "i don't bluff"? >> he thinks pretty carefully about his words and when he chooses his words, they're by design, not by accident. >> reporter: meant to send assurances to the israelis? >> i think he meant to send a message to everybody, not just the israelis. >> reporter: scott, another message the president wants to send to world leaders is to stop buying iran's oil or the alternative could be what no one wants: a war in the middle east.
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>> pelley: norah, thank you very much. iran is already being punished economically by severe sanctions imposed by the u.s. iran had national elections today with the hard-line government trying to convince its people to tough it out in a standoff with much of the world. elizabeth palmer is in tehran. >> reporter: it was an entrance designed to grab attention. iran's supreme leader cast a ballot live on national television and sent a message to all iranians. "the arrogant powers" he said-- meaning the u.s. and israel-- "are bullying us." the regime needed a big turnout today to legitimize its anti-western stance and its refusal to back down on the nuclear program. there are more than 3,000 candidates running in this election and yet nowhere will you see the opposition represented. since the 2009 uprising, its leaders have been jailed and the movement crushed.
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the tens of thousands of people who took to the streets then to demand reforms have been intimidated into silence. the only protests they could safely make today was to boycott the ballot box. whatever the result of this election, hard-liners are certain to be in charge of iran as it heads into dangerous times. u.s.-led sanctions to put pressure on the country over its nuclear program are starting to hurt. in food markets, for example, the price of ground meat and tea is up by 50% since january and because iran's currency has lost nearly half its value against the dollar the cost of imported goods like computers or some drugs is skyrocketing. people are clearly worried but hassan was one of the few who'd say so on camera. >> yes. of course. everybody's worried. >> reporter: as this crisis deepens, the iranian leadership is gambling that its citizens
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are not going to blame political leadership at home but rather what it calls persecution by israel and the united states. elizabeth palmer, cbs news, tehran. >> pelley: back in america, birth control continues to be the surprise issue of this election year. today president obama jumped in, taking advantage of some incendiary remarks by a radio talk show host. liberals and conservatives are fanning a controversy over something that many americans see as a fact of life. nancy cordes is in our washington bureau. nancy? >> reporter: what did the president say to you? >> well, he expressed his support for me. >> reporter: 30-year-old sandra fluke got a call from the white house today saying a senior official wanted to speak to her. that senior official turned out to be the president. >> he also just wanted to express concern and make sure that i was okay. he mentioned that as a parent of two daughters he hoped that i would tell my parents that they should be proud of me.
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>> reporter: the georgetown university law student entered the national spotlight two weeks ago when republican leaders refused to accept her as a witness at a hearing about the obama administration's new policy on insurance coverage of contraception. that led to this awkward site s: five men testifying on what democrats say is a women's issue. >> what i want to know is where are the women? >> reporter: so democrats held their own informal hearing in protest last week with fluke as their lone witness. >> these denials of contraceptive coverage impact real people. >> reporter: radio host rush limbaugh was not the first provocateur to disparage fluke-- just the most explicit. >> it makes her a slut, right? makes her a prostitute. she wants to be paid to have s sex. >> reporter: had anyone ever said anything like that about you before? >> well, certainly not on national airwaves. you know, i think that a lot of women, unfortunately, have heard
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those types of words and historically they've always been used to try to silence women. >> reporter: so why did the president feel the need to get involved? well, scott, the white house sees this as a chance to portray republicans as out of touch with those all-important independent women voters. >> pelley: nancy, thank you. there are reports of torture and executions as syria's army takes a rebel stronghold. russia's vladimir putin faces protests in his bid to become president again. and after the deadly school shooting in ohio, a time to heal when the "cbs evening news" continues. [ rosa ] i'm rosa and i quit smoking with chantix.
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what does it mean to be able to have this distraction? >> it means that our students can get together and... get together for something that's a good cause and finally show whaefrpb we're all about and that's just being a great school. >> reporter: the game against rival madison high had been scheduled for monday-- the day the lives of everyone in this gym were changed. >> yeah, it's been a really long week but it's amazing what a small town can really do. >> reporter: the student hand sign means "one heart beat." it's chardon's battle cry. at half time, the game was still close, but in the third quarter, chardon dominated. the hill toppers won by 19. this had to be their night. doug snyder is chardon's athletic director. >> it's about the kids. and they were able to be kids
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tonight. >> reporter: it was a game in which everyone was rooting for ol coach pat moran.dison high >> they're not go school coach pat moran. >> they're not going to remember the score of this game at the end. they'll remember what they were part of, how they contributed to the healing process. >> reporter: it's a process that has just begun. michelle miller, cbs news, euclid, ohio. >> pelley: gas prices have never been higher in this country at this time of year, but they're lower than they are elsewhere. we'll show you where next. with exercise and ensure muscle health. i've got revigor. what's revigor? it's the amino acid metabolite, hmb to help rebuild muscle and strength naturally lost over time. [ female announcer ] ensure muscle health has revigor and protein to help protect, preserve, and promote muscle health. keeps you from getting soft. [ major nutrition ] ensure. nutrition in charge!
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>> pelley: in syria, the army has overrun the city of homs which has been a main stronghold of the freedom movement. the u.n. secretary general said today he's heard what he calls grisly reports of torture and executions there. and just north of homs in rastan, the army fired a mortar into a crowd of protesters who where demanding an end to bashar al-assad's dictatorship. 12 people were killed, including five children. one of assad's last allies is russian prime minister vladimir putin. he blocked a u.n. peace plan for syria and today he accuse the west of fueling the conflict. on sunday, putin is expected to win election to his old job-- president. that in spite of signs that many in russia are dissatisfied with his government. putin shrugged off the recent
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protests saying that he's concerned about all russians. in this country, gas prices have risen to the highest level we've ever paid in the month of march. a national average $3.74 a gallon. that's up 46 cents since the start of the year and just 37 cents away from the all-time high of $4.11 back in the summer of '08. even that is a bargain, though, when you consider that drivers in britain are paying twice that. $8.26 a gallon. she's fighting crime in a tough city. not by taking up arms but by joining hands. "on the road" with steve hartman joining hands. "on the road" with steve hartman is next. but now, with zyrtec-d®, i have the proven allergy relief of zyrtec®, plus a powerful decongestant. i can breathe freer with zyrtec-d®. so i'll race you to our favorite chair. i might even let you win.
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as steve hartman discovered "on the road." >> reporter: crime in new orleans is bad news. >> police are investigating their latest murder. >> reporter: the murder rate has shot up. it's now ten times the national average. >> four more people were shot... >> a hail of bullets... >> the violence... >> reporter: which is why 76-year-old millie campbell has taken matter matters into her on hands. >> somebody has to do it and the little bit i do will help. >> reporter: what millie does is drive the streets fighting crime. and although so far she's made more of a dent in her car than the crime stats... >> i'm too close to that flower pot. >> reporterpot.>> reporter: ...s it's only a matter of time until her unique approach makes this city safer. >> we thank you right now, god. >> about twice her week with her hands on the wheel at 10 and to the heavens, millie and her friend betty drive up and down the most dangerous streets in new orleans praying for the end to the violence here. >> god, touch here, god. >> reporter: millie says jesus
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called her to do it. >> i'm not afraid. >> reporter: you're not willing to get out of your car, though, either. >> jesus never told me to get out of my car! we just ride and pray for her. >> reporter: almost everyone in the neighborhood knows her as the praying lady. what most people don't know is that she and bet tri just two soldiers in a small well-organized army. >> in the name of jesus... >> i just went to the city's web site on crime to just let you know what's going on in this specific area you're praying for. >> reporter: keith campbell is their leader. he drew the battle lines, giving each lady in this prayer group a neighborhood to patrol and pray over. >> i got the night watch. >> we live in a war zone and our major weapon is really prayer. that's our atomic bomb. >> reporter: unfortunately, it's still a mostly lose battle. >> your work is not in vain. >> reporter: even as keith was getting his troops fired up, a few miles away on this street corner another crime was going down. ♪ i told satan... >> reporter: shortly after they started singing, shots
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started ringing. while they prayed, another victim laid in a pool of his own blood. ♪ happiness is mine... >> reporter: murder has become just that common in new orleans, which is why, whether it works or not, people like millie will continue to beg their maker to intercede. >> that this neighborhood is safe. >> reporter: and why, whether people believe or not, they will more than welcome this kind of drive-by. >> we love you! >> reporter: steve hartman on the road in new orleans. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. sunday on "face the nation," bob schieffer's guests will be newt gingrich and ron paul. i'm scott pelley. see you sunday evening on "60 minutes." until then, for all of us at cbs news all around the world. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
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this is 9 news now. right now the rain is rolling out of the d.c. metro, but could it come back later tonight and what about the possibility of thunderstorms? chief meteorologist topper shutt has the latest from the 9 news now weather center. >> if you're headed out tonight, you may see rain has ended in your area, but bring your umbrella because another round is on the way. let's start with live doppler 9000. it made for a messy commute home, but for the most part the rain is now between d.c.ken and baltimore and down across southern mayor -- d.c. and baltimore and down across southern maryland. we have a little bit of a respite. another batch of showers and eventually thunderstorms will develop, but if you're just south of baltimore into southern maryland, that's the only place we have showers of any consequence this hour. that